BOOM BOOM, 2 BLOGS IN 1 (sorry, we’re a bit behind so we’re trying to catch up).
Okay so here’s the deal. Grace and I realised that we need to do a whole lot of blogging (like a WHOLE lot of blogging) to keep you fantastically keen beans updated and interested in what’s going on with us, and in case you hadn’t realised, Wi-Fi can be pretty scarce when you’re rambling through the Irish countryside in a van and begging unsuspecting campsite-owners to please let you use their showers because I haven’t showered in ten days and I smell like I died some-time when we were crossing the Irish Sea.
Sorry, this is getting to me a little bit.
ANYWAY, we’re going to be alternating between blog posts. So buckle up kids, cos it’s my turn.
The Emerald Isle
Oh BOY is there a lot to update you on. So in our last post, we left you in Enniskillen, a lovely town in the South West of Northern Ireland. Well since then, we’ve crossed the border and headed in to the Republic of Ireland, spending most of Monday driving around the countryside looking for Wi-Fi and somewhere to grab a fantastic pint.
Of course, we ended up in Galway – now for any of our intrepid friends who may be thinking about coming to Ireland in a campervan, be warned, Galway isn’t a particularly welcoming city for campers. There’s a load of history and politics – I won’t get in to it – but basically, there is only one spot that you can park up. Which of course, we didn’t know, so after driving for about 5 hours, we spent another hour and a half roaming around central Galway in our creeper van looking for somewhere to park without someone calling the police.
Which, in fairness, seems like a reasonable response.
We parked up by the docks – a beautiful little Marina with yachts and boats, overlooking the Atlantic ocean, and then spent the evening in central Galway. We ended up in a pub called The Quays – a fantastic little haunt reminiscent of one of my favourite pubs in London, with live music from Sult and Three Legged Dog, both local to Galway. We enjoyed a few drinks and just soaked up the atmosphere – if you’re in to live music, Galway is an absolute must. There are tunes spilling out of absolutely every pub, and the level of talent is astounding, It’s an amazingly creative city, at least from what we saw, and to be honest, I’d recommend it to anyone.
Out of the city
We woke up the next morning in need of a wee and a shower, so we drove a little bit around the corner to Salthill. If it wasn’t for the temperature, this place could be straight out of the Caribbean. Clear, blue water and long, white stretches of sand adorn this promenade. While some of us opted for the local public shower, Hanna, Ana and I went for a dip in the sea. Which was freezing, but I can only imagine it was infinitely more refreshing.
We took a short walk around Galway, taking in some of the sights. The Cathedral is stunning, but my personal favourite was our short stroll by the Salmon weir, where we could see tens of fisherman wading through the water and trying to catch the Atlantic salmon that migrate upstream this time of year.
And then, we headed off and on to the next location, Roundstone.
Which was stunning.
This coast of Ireland is referred to as the Wild Atlantic Way, and it’s clear to see why. Mountains rise and fall out of nowhere, and scrub adorns the almost purple rock terraces. Lochs here and there reflect the clouds and the sunlight back at you, and every crest suggests a stunning ocean vista. Which is exactly what we were greeted with in Roundstone. The sun was shining, the day was warm, and we hopped out of the van to rustle up a warm shower and hand out some flyers. Unfortunately, we had no luck with the shower, which meant that we had to stay about a mile and a half outside of this beautiful town in a smelly caravan site. I was disappointed.
But I totally shouldn’t have been.
This is the view that we had when we arrived. Yet another clear, white beach, and the picturesque blue water. I knew that the Irish coast was supposed to be beautiful, but this was something else.
We had dinner on the beach, and hung out a bit until we decided to go to bed, the soft sound of the waves in the near distance lulling us to sleep. Everything was so quiet and peaceful.
In fairness, we should have been a bit more prepared for the rain. When we woke up, the van was literally ROCKING from side to side with the wind and the rain, and even stepping outside filled our shoes up with water.
It was freezing, the rain was lashing down, and the sea was now thunderous and angry.
We showered (shower rating 3/10 – so powerful it literally hurt, and mouldy shower curtains, but warm at least) and then headed in to town. We were huddled up in our waterproofs, and when we pulled up in our performance location by the Roundstone musical instrument shop, the weather had gotten worse. The wind was absolutely howling.
We banded together and tried to get the tent up – a massive shout out to Bell Tent Boutique, our tent sponsors for this project. Despite literal pouring rain and gale force winds, the tent absolutely held its own – we struggled against the weather to get it up, but when it got up, it stayed up. This is a piece of canvas suspended by a pole and guy ropes that can withstand gale force winds man that is actually so freaking cool. Like think about that for a second. Man I love this tent.
The tent could withstand the weather, what couldn’t, was us, which meant that we had to take the tent down and cancel our performance.
After wandering around the town trying to find somewhere we could leave our clothes and our tent to dry, we called it a day early, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a pub, chatting, playing card games, and waiting for the awful weather to pass. This was our first cancelled show, and while I was disappointed, I was so immensely proud of how hard everyone worked to get the tent up and down again that it almost didn’t matter.
Back at it again
It didn’t stop us for long though – the rain on Thursday was bad, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before. So, we came in to town and got that tent pitched.
We spent the day flyering and trying to wrangle up an audience, before taking to the stage with To The Ocean. Considering the weather and everything, we were kind of dying to perform, and I was blown away with the work that the guys did. Really really fantastic, they totally blew me away.
Our final night in Roundstone was spent around the table at the community centre, watching a movie and sheltering from the last of the rain.
We’ve now arrived in Doolin, performing on the fringes of the Doolin Folk Music Festival. It’s really very exciting and even though the weather is still a bit rubbish, we’re buzzing. Tonight’s our first show, and I honestly can’t wait.